School of Medical and Health Sciences / Exercise Medicine Research Institute
National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Centre of Research Excellence (CRE)- Prostate Cancer Survivorship Scholarship
To systematically review and analyze the effects of resistance-based exercise programs on body composition, regional adiposity, and body weight in individuals with overweight/obesity across the lifespan. Using PRISMA guidelines, randomized controlled trials were searched in nine electronic databases up to December 2020. Meta-analyses were performed using random-effects model. One-hundred sixteen articles describing 114 trials (n = 4184 participants) were included. Interventions involving resistance training and caloric restriction were the most effective for reducing body fat percentage (ES = −3.8%, 95% CI: −4.7 to −2.9%, p < 0.001) and whole-body fat mass (ES = −5.3 kg, 95% CI: −7.2 to −3.5 kg, p < 0.001) compared with groups without intervention. Significant results were also observed following combined resistance and aerobic exercise (ES = −2.3% and −1.4 kg, p < 0.001) and resistance training alone (ES = −1.6% and −1.0 kg, p < 0.001) compared with no training controls. Resistance training alone was the most effective for increasing lean mass compared with no training controls (ES = 0.8 kg, 95% CI: 0.6 to 1.0 kg, p < 0.001), whereas lean mass was maintained following interventions involving resistance training and caloric restriction (ES = ~ − 0.3 kg, p = 0.550–0.727). Results were consistently observed across age and sex groups (p = 0.001–0.011). Reductions in regional adiposity and body weight measures were also observed following combined resistance and aerobic exercise and programs including caloric restriction (p < 0.001). In conclusion, this study provides evidence that resistance-based exercise programs are effective and should be considered within any multicomponent therapy program when caloric restriction is utilized in individuals with overweight or obesity.
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